The Pelago Path Racer

Well, I am afraid that I will spoil the big surprise by posting this.

As you know there are one project that I have been working on for a long time. Many other projects has crossed my way since I started searching for parts to my “project”. But now, at last it is finally complete. You might know after reading and following my blog that I, for a long time had an vision to have a old bicycle. But since old bicycles often are in need of constant service, and even sometimes are rare and expensive (I know since I have vintage bicycles too). That made me look for all sorts of modern bicycle brands and models. I realized quickly that modern ones did not quite cut the mustard for me in either design, style or”feel”. After a long search on internet I found that the Finnish made Pelago bicycles was the ones I was looking for. More specific the model the calls “Bristol”. It is a classical looking bicycle in a roadster style, black colour, nice details in lugs and frame work, simple but still vintage looking. While I was looking around and searching I noticed the Pashely Guvnor and was hooked right away by the design of the “path racer” from the -30’s. I started to think how the Guvnor was made, designed and found out that it was just a regular frame slightly changed and modified, but was still keeping the standard look.
I could not stop thinking of the great style of the Path racers and the way Pashely made the Govnor.
After a while I decided to simply build one myself. I just needed a good frame to start with. I started more and more to like the look of an path racer with the turned down handlebars, no mud guards, no chain guard. A really fast looking one, but made with vintage parts. I decided to give it a go and that I would go all the way with this one. It was going to be 100% perfect in my taste. I had time on my hands so there was no rush. The deadline was set so I could enter the Bike in Tweed event for 2014. The Pashely Guvnor was a great inspiration in all the process. But I wanted something different. Something in a more “less is more” style or simply in “my” style. But sadly I could not attend the 2014 event. So everything was put on ice for a moment.
After listening and talking to people I found out that there was going to be an 2015 event of Bike in Tweed. Then I suddenly got about a year to build and finish it to the 2015 event. That became my new goal!

Last summer I visited Pelago while I was on vacation in Helsinki. They was very kind and helped me out with the frame, I also bought the pedals at the Pelago shop (so to be honest the bicycle started out as a pair of pedals). I later bought front and back wheels from a friend that had a set of brand new wheels in spare, he also had an seat post that fitted the Pelago frame that I bought. The saddle, the complete front break system, handlebars and the grips was found on internet auctions.
The stem was an adventure by it self. I found a special made one in United Kingdom that I bought. But that one did not fit the look at all, so I found a old one I had in a locker down in the cellar. That one fitted like a charm. The bell comes from UK and has a lovely tone. I found the crank set in Australia, the chain are from Germany, so are the tires and tubes.
It is an truly international bicycle. But in a European style, perhaps even a Nordic style. So I collected parts for about 6 months for this bicycle, time was not an issue. I had more than a year to get it ready.

Now it is done!

I will present the bicycle better as soon as the winter turns in to spring and the weather is nicer. It is a user bicycle, but I like to take good photos in good conditions. But for now, here is a photo from the hallway. I will also present all the bicycles. It is getting rather confusing now with all projects. At least it is confusing for me.

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A ride in the snow

Today I took a ride on the Pelago that I have, the one with three gears. It was such a nice weather this morning. The sun was shining, only a few degrees below zero, birds was singing. A lovely day for sure! I took a ride to the place where I always take photos of my bicycles just for fun, adding a winter photo to the collection. I am leaning the bicycle against the same tree every time I am there and takes a photo. Just for fun. A sad note is that I will most likely sell the Pelago to a friend, he want to buy a good bicycle that will last him many years. He has currently an old Swedish army bicycle that he never uses. Because it is so heavy to use, with no gears and a frame that are made of solid iron (it feels like that anyway). The tires comes straight from an old tractor or somethi9ng like that. I mentioned to him that I have this black Pelago bicycle and I am not really to happy with the gearing (I am used to only one gear and finds 3 gears a bit to much, “less is more” so to speak). Perhaps I will take his army bicycle and fix it up to original condition. It would be a fun project. We will see how it all turns out.

As I was sliding along in the snow I was thinking of the fact that tomorrow is new years eve!
Then the year 2014 is over and we are entering 2015, a new year!

It feels strange in a way. After all, it was only a few weeks ago I mentioned “Bike in Tweed”, right? It can not be a whole year ago?! Anyway, a year ago I was going on about how I really wanted to be a part of the Bike in Tweed event next year (this year 2014). How I got an tandem bicycle and everything around that bicycle with my attempt to fix it up. Only so I could enter the tweed event. Then got other bicycles that I was also fixing up in time for the tweed event. But due to some odd planning I could never join the tweed event.
I remember the disappointment I felt when I realized that it all went down the drain with my planning.

But soon, really soon it will be 2015 and I will make a new attempt to join the tweed dressed people in a bicycle ride around Stockholm. This time I will not make any promises. But I can say that I will really try the hardest to be there next year!

Since of the renovating of “lady blue” last winter and the tandem bicycle this summer. I am currently having 2 more projects in the cellar that you have been reading about. It is the old Monark bicycle that I will build into a “ride-for-fun” bicycle. I will try to make it as good as possible, I realize that the style is not going to be typical like the 30-50’s era. But it will be a reliable racer with a very own style. Then I still have the Pelago frame with all parts that I have bought. I am trying to bring together to a retro path racer, also as you might have been reading about earlier. How that one will turn out, well that is a different question. All parts and so on is a quite a challenge to bring together. Or at least put it all together so it all fits in a good way.

I realize that I might have taken a chance with that project. But I will try to complete it as good as I can.  It will be an expensive and complicated learning experience. But fun! So far I have learned lots of things I did not know about bottom brackets and the different styles of taps, cranks and all those other things. Things you never think about when riding a new bicycle that you bought. Especially for me that in all times have been mending and fixing old bicycles that was made in the 40’s. The Pelago is brand new, using brand new components and techniques.

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I hope both projects will be completed until the “Bike in Tweed” event in September 2015. Then I have 4 or even 5 bicycles hanging around. The question is what bicycle I ride, but also who will ride the others. I hope that the blond girl would like to ride “Lady blue”, she said it would be fun. But she needs a tweed dress, in a weak moment of confusion. I said that I would help her to find a dress. But I have no clue of where to find a vintage tweed dress in her size. Or in any size of that matter. I know where she can find new made dresses in tweed. But they are not so much vintage looking. I will try to persuade her.
For my own appearance I am thinking of buying a new tweed suit, since I gave away my old one. For me personally the brand is not an difficult option. For me there is only Harris Tweed. The cloth is made in the Outer Hebrides islands just north of Scotland. The cloth are woven by the weavers in their homes and the cloth is then sent to the tailors that also are located in Scotland. I am thinking of having a dark colour tweed suit this time since I am using a grey herringbone tweed jacket almost everyday,  it might be a good idea to change colour sometimes. Beside a dark suit is usable in so many different settings so I think it is a good investment. Not only a fun thing for use at an bicycle race around the city once a year. But it is representable at party’s and other social events. After all, tweed never gets old or out of style.

Back at work I have talked to a bunch of people about the Bike in Tweed event that they would like to join it to with their own vintage bicycles. It sure would be a real treat if we all could join and experience that day. If that happens I will post a photo of us here, along with an report from the day. Bicycles, tweed, tea and sandwiches. But I hope that 2015 will have more fun events with bicycles and also having nice picnics. Packing up an old spirit stove, a can of beans, bacon, eggs, bread and make an English breakfast outside in the nature. Of course the enamel mug for tea is joining. Why not make it in to a photo shoot to? I think the blond girl would like that idea of a tweed picnic.

This year was not so bad out of bicycle view. I got much made on my own bicycles and I actually helped out a friend with his family’s bicycles. I repaired and adjusted them and did an general overlook of them. It was easy thing to fix, but it was also fun to work with bicycles. One of the ones I was adjusted was an old Swedish army bicycle from the 50’s same style as the one I mentioned earlier! All original and in a great shape. A great rider, made for riding thousands of miles on old gravel roads. I hope that the friend will join the tweed event 2015, or perhaps a picnic. After all there are so many advantages with an old bicycle, you get exercise and fresh air. Saving the environment and getting healthy at the same time. Noting bad with that really. When getting back home from my winter ride. I removed all the snow from the tires, rims and frame. I wiped off the water from the mud guards and pedals. Back in the basement, parking beside Lady Blue and the other bicycles. See you all next year!

Finally I wish all my readers a great 2015. I hope it will be filled with lots of nice rides and many great memories.

See you at #bikeintweed2015

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Lady blue and the girl with the white dress

During a photo session I attended to a few weeks back. By coincidence one of my friends on that photo session and I started talking about taking a new sets of photos with her as an model. I mentioned the old bicycle I had been renovation during the winter and that I wanted to take photos of for this blog. The idea of an photo session with her as an model and having period looking clothes came up. We both thought it could be a great and fun idea. After all, I had my favourite place in the forest nearby, where it is a good place for photos in an neutral place regarding when era the photos are taken in. We decided a date when we would meet and take photos of her and lady blue. All just for fun.

The day had come. I made a quick service on Lady Blue, checking that all nuts and bolts where tightened and that the tires where filled with air after being standing unused for a few weeks. But now it was time for Lady Blue to see the sunlight again. To feel the road underneath her new tires rushing by. Feeling the fresh air and leaping forward like an deer. I took a ride to the meeting place on the bicycle. I was surprised on how smooth and quiet ride was. No rattling what so ever. Everything felt so perfect, like a brand new bicycle in a way.

I have mentioned this before, but I can mention it again. The things I have done so far on the bicycle is that I first had the bicycle down in small parts. They were cleaned and greased up with everything what that includes. I also  got “NOS” (new old stock) parts, to either replace the parts that where damaged or that were missing. First of all I got an very old and worn Brooks saddle along with a new made saddle post that fitted the bicycles old frame standard and the saddles mount. On an auction I found a 1930’s headlight made by the Swedish brand ASEA. I also found the dynamo that is from that era and the same ASEA brand on an different auction.

The brand new grey tires are really looking like they are from that period, sadly there is a yellow makers brand on them. But they are only visible from one side. So I decided to mount the tires so the maker brand was facing the opposite way as the chain guard. That was only because to get the clean look on that side. I also got valve caps in metal with an small chain that are fastened on the valve it self. It is an small and silly detail, but it gives a great touch and looks just so great in my opinion.

For pure decoration I got a spring that holds the electrical cord from the dynamo to the headlight. It was a very typical thing they had in the olden days.
An unused chain guard was won on an auction. The guard still had the price tag in place. I polished up the chain guard up so it matched the other polished parts on the bicycle. In an bicycle shop I found handlebars with the right curvature as in the 1930’s. One more auction gave me a set of NOS wooden grips for the handlebars and an bicycle bell from the same era. The sound and chime of that bell. It is out of this world, so crisp and clear. After all years, it still works and are no problem with not getting attention.

But that amazing skirt guard that I found long before. That I also have been talking about in earlier posts. It sure is looking really great on the bicycle! I must say that all the colours are really lovely in the sunlight, far greater than in the florescent lighting in the basement that I have been seeing it in so far. The net is shimmering in different colours and gives the bicycle a complete look. The frame, the mudguards and the polished parts, it all shines and have a depth in the colours. In short, Lady blue still got it. She is still a beauty, the grace and finesse is still there. The old bicycle rides as well as it looks after the renovation and are simply in great shape for being 80 years old.

The girl I met for the photo session, saw the bicycle and liked it a lot. She tried it and took the bicycle for a ride, she really loved it. We went to the place for the photo session and took  lots of photos. Included in this post is one of the photos.

It was great to see the old bicycle being used once a again as it once was meant to be. But not as back in the days with rain, snow and hard work. Now in 2014 the old bicycle will only being used on sunny days and going out for some nice rides. Lady Blue needs the rest. My intentions where to enter the Bike in Tweed race in Stockholm with Lady in Blue this year. Sadly I can not join the Bike In Tweed event this year due to reasons that I could not adjust in anyway.

But if there will be an Bike In Tweed event in 2015, I will ask the girl with the blue dress if she wants to borrow Lady in Blue and join the event. I honestly think it will be an great combination and an very appreciated display by the other participants and the bystanders. Also the girl in the blue dress like the idea of dressing up and having fun. Who knows, she might even have a tweed dress in her closet… That would make it simply perfect.

Fun in a tweed on a bicycle.

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Before the big Rex restoration

I thought that you might like some text before I started to tear down the Rex tandem bicycle in parts.

The tandem is in great original condition for its age. It has been used, standing outside so it is dirty, rusty but complete. The rear wheel is not original, but it is typical to the tandem so it might be a replacement wheel that was mounted many years ago. One of the spokes on the rear wheel was broken and turned around one of the other spokes. A typical way to mend things back in the days while on the road. The breaks seams to work well. I have been thinking a lot of exactly what I need to do. I have decided to replace the saddles, the saddle posts the handles and posts. That is it! I will look around for worn parts that I can use.

I will soon dismount the bicycle, clean and polish the parts as good as possible. Both rear and from wheel hubs will be torn down, cleaned and lubricated. The crank shafts has the same coming their way. The rear crank shaft is no problem. The front one is a special one that is loose. I am not sure if I can fix that one. I will take a look. Let us hope for the best.

So now,  two used Brook saddles, two old handlebars in a old style. I already have one pair of handlebar grips. I also have a head light of the same brand as the dynamo that was mounted on the bicycle. In the box of parts “good to have” is an original cat eye that is made for the bicycle. Then it is a matter of putting it all together again.

That is the fun part. Then it is on with the tweed and join the “Bike In Tweed” race.

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Rain, snow and hail is no problem

The Hermes manages every kind of weather. The owner, well. The nose got a bit cold but that is nothing a hot cup of tea would cure. Today I was thinking it would be nice to take the old bicycle out for a spin. The bicycle in question is a old Hermes made my Nymans verkstäder (NV) in the Swedish town of Uppsala. Hermes was a sub-brand of NV, they had their own chain guard logo, and logo on the frame badge. But they was still a NV bicycle made in the same factories as the other sub-brands of NV. I have researched the bicycle for some small indications and signs for age and found out that it is made about 1954-56. 
What I can say with 100% certain, is that my bicycle is a Hermes, made in Uppsala, Sweden in mid 1950’s.

So it is a old one, it is used a lot. But not abused. It is in a rather good condition for its age, everything works as it should. Even the dynamo for the headlight works. Sadly the previous owner, at some point decided that the original paint needed to be refreshed. So the owner simply painted the frame with a dull rust proof paint instead. But of some reason he decided to paint the front of the frame in a white colour.
When I got the bicycle there was plastic handlebar grips from the 70’s mounted. That was the first thing I removed. By coincidence I had a pair of original wooden grips in a drawer. The handlebar had rusted rather bad at the ends. But with some sanding and cleaning, it looked acceptebel. I mounted the old stock grips, the fitted right away. Strange how a pair of grips can change the entire look of a bicycle. Now it looks original. Even down to the tool box underneath the rack. The tool box is, by the way, locked when you lock the bicycle with the frame mounted lock by the rear wheel. It just proves they knew what they where doing back then. In the tool box there is room for small tools, repair kit, a small pump and other bits an pieces. Quite handy!

The bag on the rack in the photo is my grandfathers old bicycle bag that he always used. It was handed to me after him and it is a superb bag for almost everything. Sandwiches, a flask with tea, bottles of lemonade, food in containers, books, things. The bag it self is fastened with three hooks. Two on top and one at the bottom. To mount it, simply slide it on the lower frame leg that goes to the wheel hub up to the rack, then hook it on the rack. Takes 5 seconds. Then because of the weight in the bag, it stays firmly in place. It also matches the paint on the bicycle, a small coincident.

There is a strange looking handle on the handlebar. That is not an hand break, as there is no front wheel brake sadly. No, it is a lever I found thrown away, that can used for many things. I have an idea for it’s use. I am thinking of a bell that is activated by the lever. It will rotate a small wheel on the tire and creates a alarm type of sound. Could be fun, we will see.

Anyway. It was a nice ride, it is always a good feeling to ride a bicycle. Getting fresh air and some exercise. The old god from Olympen (at least Uppsala) needed to stretch out his legs.

 

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